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vatican. they verified these are supernormal, paranormal, whatever, parasites that only come from above. they verified that come and the process is still somewhat slow. that was in '05, '06. they decided to canonize her last year. i think it was december 2011. october 21, 2012. so a novelized biography is something where you take the facts and you try to tell a story, and you impute the motive and you try to get the psychology that we suspect, because we are alive, and we know in our hearts. you try to make it real, in a
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way that is sympathetic. i am sympathetic -- that's true in either way, just the facts. so you try to tell the story in a way that is, where the reader is on the edge of his or her of ceasing all my god, what would i've done in this situation? and any great movie, any great book that you've read, so i novelized biography, it's a creation, and artistic creation. but i would say other than just the bare facts as you saw in that book, anything that's written about her necessarily 100 years later has to have some degree of projection of whoever is writing. so what i have tried to do is show her as much as a man can get into a woman's head or into a woman's heart, show her going through the various struggles
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and surmounting a lot of these difficulties that she was able to surmount in her life. what it did for her inside and out a broader to this place. that whole catholic world reveres her and explained that in such a way to tell the story to people who find it an enjoyable experience, to read and encounter. >> for more information on this and other cities on the local content vehicles to work, go to >> booktv is on facebook. like us to interact with booktv guests and viewers. watch videos and get up-to-date information on events. >> rachel cox, who was robbie
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cox? >> robbie cox is my deceased uncle who made the decision in june of 1941, six months before pearl harbor brought america into world war ii, he made the decision that he wanted to fight the war against fascism, and went to england and enlisted as an officer candidate with the british army. he took with him for friends, another man who was a student at harvard, and three other guys who who had recently graduated and were doing what they could to help the cause of freedom and liberty against the forces of nazi fascism speaks that he was studying at harvard at the time. what was he studying and what was his life projector at that point? >> well, he, like his four brothers had grown up in new jersey and vermont where his family had had property for quite, several generations. he went to prep school at
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st. paul school where he distinguished himself as a student and as a student leader and as an athlete. and like all his brothers in his uncles and his grandfather's before him he went off to harvard. he was quite literary. he was a good writer. he was known as a good writer, and when he went to war he kept journals and wrote wonderful letters which i hunted up and explored to find a really the story of what happened to him when he went to war. i knew growing up that he had been killed. by the time i was, became of age of course he was gone. he was killed in 1943 in tunisia. and that's pretty much all i knew about him, except for what he looked like. there were mementos around my grandmother's house. and up at six years ago i decided i was going to see what i could do to find out more about it, and that was the beginning of this journey of discovery that led to the publication of my book. >> "into dust and fire."
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so his life was a good life at that point, right? there was some money, some family background, et cetera. >> they were comfortable, yes. >> what inspired rob cox two, six months before, go off to europe? >> well, this is one of the questions that fascinate me when i started researching the book. he was an idealistic young man. i knew that. he went to a school that, a christian school, and he was somewhat religious and felt that life was meant to be at more than just yourself, and to have meaning and be helpful to others, that kind of thing. there were a few less noble motivations i think. he was graduated from college. he had no other obvious plan, and yet what we would now call a low draft number. he knew that it was a good chance you'll be drafted drafted into the american army, which had resumed the draft in come at
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the end of 1940. but had no clear plans to actually go to war, and he wasn't too excited i don't think about spending the next couple of years training for military. so he was casting around for something, and i think this fulfill a lot of meaningful, fulfilled a lot of meaningful goals for him. >> how did he get from harvard to england? i mean, who did he contact? >> that's a good question. welcome he learned about this opportunity at his harvard club, which was sort of a fraternity at harvard, the more self-important i guess. someone came to talk to the guys at the club who had made contact in england with the american ambassador, the british foreign secretary, and had worked out a way for this regiment called the kings world rifle corps, which had actually formed up originally in america, before
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the american revolution. it had its roots in the french and indian war. of course after the revolution there were no more americans in the regiment, but in 1940, 41, it seemed like me to a good idea to bring a few americans to the battlefield. and through various informal channels i guess you'd say, arrangements have been made for a few americans to join the kings world rifle corps and become officers. so when my uncle heard about this he thought, sounds pretty good. >> now, was he the leader of the five, the band of five? or did they separately decide to attend as will? >> welcome he was sort of the center of the group in that he made the decision to go. there was one other harvard void really, only 19, a sophomore college who had grown up in england, come back to america. he was american but he had been
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raised in england, come back to america to go to harvard, and he of course was desperate to get back to england to help his friends fight the nazi menace at that point in 1941 from england had just barely avoided being inundated by the germans. the battle of britain was pretty much over but they were still being bombed regularly. they were in a terrible decision. they needed all the help they could get. and i think that appealed a little bit to my uncle, sort of sense of chivalry. he really liked to help the underdog. anyway, i'm getting back to your previous question but as far as being a leader of the group, he knew about this opportunity. he went one day to adult prep school for the first homecoming event, and he met with a room, eczema, former roommate of his affairs to went to dartmouth. he tried to talk his friend into going with him. his friend decided not to go, but he did news of this opportunity back to dartmouth with him when he went back to
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school, and told his friends there who were very active in the interventionist movement about this opportunity. and they thought it over for a little while but not very long. they pretty much jumped at the chance. my uncle was sort of the linchpin of the group. he was the reason these dartmouth boys knew about the opportunity. but it wouldn't say he was exactly the leader. >> what did you learn about his experience before he actually did any fighting? i mean, wasn't through letters letters home, to research in england? how did you find out what exactly happened? >> well, it was a mixed. he wrote home to his mother almost every week. letters that are two or three pages, typed pages. there's a lot of material to read, and i did go to england. i went to the regimental museum, the kings royal rifle corps has a museum with a document and record everything, pretty much everything to do.
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there were regimental chronicles their that you can read. and i saw where he had lived, and i also managed to track down relatives of the other four, the other four soldiers who were -- also had stacks of letters and diaries. three out of the five young men saw themselves as writers. two of them were committed to being professional writers when and if they return from the war. so they kept really good record you might say. so that's the main way that i learned it. and i interviewed, for instance, some people who remember them and knew them. i heard from soldiers in england the remembered training with them in westminster england it so i was able to get a lot of information. >> of the five, how many survived world war ii? >> three survived. my uncle and another fella named jack brister were both killed very close to the end of the north africa campaign in april 1943.
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>> what happened? >> how did they die speak with your uncle. >> well, he was in an isolated position. i went to tunisia to see what the land was like, where they were fighting. this wonderfully interesting and exciting. it's a very broken, dry, rocky, hilly kind of terrain. and any small group of men who was kind of separate from the body of the battalion was very isolated, and user difficult to get, i'm giving away the end of the book. do you think it's a good idea bikes. >> it's up to you. >> i won't go into too much detail. he basically, a sniper killed him. it was kind of under no circumstances. he volunteered to go out with another man to find a can position that had been caring for troops. and in the course of that, there was a guy behind a haystack who just took him out with a rifle, and, unfortunately, he was so
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far from medical help that he bled to death before he could get the kind of help he needed. >> by 1943 they were fully incorporated into the british army? >> oh, yes. >> and not part of the american expedition? >> nothing to do. no. no, that was an issue for them. making sure they be able to transfer to american army, if america actually joined. and one of them, jack brister, the other fella was killed in tunisia made the decision to transfer to the american army in april 1943, not long before he was killed. and he got the paperwork done, went through the channels. so they have good connections. and jack brister requested a transfer. and this is the kind of thing that you couldn't make up a novel that no one would believe this. two hours after he was killed, and i won't explain how he was
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killed. your readers can get the book. two hours after he was killed, the papers came through for him to transfer into the american army. >> of the three they came back, what kind of careers did they pursue? >> well, chuck was a man who was an editor at the daily dartmouth, he had been sort of a committed newspaperman from the time he was in high school and wrote for the greenwich, connecticut, newspaper. and he came back and went to work for the voice of america, writing press dispatches to they very quickly was diverted to an effort to found a new veterans organization. it's kind of an interesting story, too, called the american veterans committee which was intended to be a new organization for turning veterans just some world war ii. they envisioned it as a progressive organization, integrated, unlike the vfw and
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the foreign legion. and the other one spent american legion. >> thank you. the american legion. anyway, that kept him occupied for a couple of years, and then he had a career in publishing. he was at the end of his life a freelance writer. he was a writer. the other two, hayward became an architect. he was a very good drawer. everywhere they went he would draw pictures. and he was an ornithologist vicki would draw pictures of birds. the third guy, bill, they came from remains, involving -- the defense department, so he, he was interested in politics all the way along and he stayed involved working for the american government. those three were very seriously injured early in their time in north africa, which is in a way why they survived.
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>> rachel cox, this is your book, "into dust and fire: five young americans who went first to fight the nazis." we didn't want to give voice to much of the indian. we gave away a little of it. rachel cox has another uncle who became rather notorious, and that is who? >> archibald cox to everyone in my family called him uncle bill. nobody knows why. that was his nickname. maybe just didn't like being called archie, i don't know spent so you called him uncle bill? >> yes. >> he is well-connected to the watergate era. what do you remember about that era? >> well, i think the general feeling was that it was characteristic of him to resign when his put in a position. i guess he was fired actually. he didn't resign, but anyway, he left. he wouldn't be with the president told him to do what he felt it to be illegal and against his convictions. and he left.
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so it kind of fits with what uncle robbie did. they're a family who was raised to do what they believed was right, act on their convictions. it all kind of made sense to me at the time to it's funny, i didn't have any sense of really betrayal or anything like that. he went on about, i was proud of him actually. spirit and rachel cox is former editor at preservation magazine, former writer and editor of time-life books, writes raggedly for the "washington post" and our website is and this is her first book. "into dust and fire: five young americans who went first to fight the nazis." this is booktv on c-span2. >> with about one month left in 2012, many publications are putting out their year-end lists
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of notable books. booktv will feature several of these lists focusing on nonfiction selections. these nonfiction titles were included in the "washington post" best books of 2012.
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>> for a link visit booktv's website, or our facebook page, >> you may recognize garrett peck from a former bookie did on probation in washington, d.c. is back at local history with a new book on the potomac river, a history and guide. what does the potomac river start and end of?
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>> it is near davis west virginia, a tiny little trickle that comes out of the side of the mountain and then it ends at point a look at which is 11 miles wide. the river is pretty wide at the mouth in between there's a huge amount of history. hundreds of historic sites. this is where our nation grew up on. it also has to nation's capital on it spent when we think about washington, d.c. we think about the national monument and the white house. and people think about the potomac river. why is it? >> when people think about washington, d.c. they think about -- why is that? >> certain people think about the potomac river, that's one of the things i was going to push towards, especially for people who live in the washington area, the potomac as interesting as an obstacle during the commute to work everyday because they're driving over it or going under it on the subway. i wanted to stress we have this incredible natural resource right on her front doorstep. is a natural river and its got
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levies on the. it's incredible. it's not exactly -- it's a wonderful resource. we get 90% of our drinking water comes out of this river. so it's pretty important for every person who lives in the washington area. >> talk about the historical significance. can you give us a couple examples of? >> mount vernon is the house george washington owned and had it expand. of course, because you lived on the potomac river he got to pick the sites of the nation's capital which is washington, d.c. mount vernon is probably the most significant building that's on the potomac historically. >> gary to come in your research for this, i'm guessing you spend sometime on on the river? >> i did. i spent about seven months on both sides. i went to several hundred sites to visit them, take all the hikes, trying to combine history with recreation. and also public accessibility.
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all sites that people can go to, and not just -- take a hike or jump on a canoe or kayak, have a good time on the river. it's an enormous recreation opportunity for washingtonians and people visiting the area. >> we are speaking with garrett peck things so much. >> thank you. i also have a sequel coming out which is called the smithsonian castle. >> great. thanks again. >> pulitzer prize-winning author william kennedy explores the political and cultural structure of albany in all albany -- all albany. booktv spoke to ms. kinney during our recent visit to albany with help of our partner, time warner cable.
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>> album he had a bad rap for a very long time. because of the politics for one thing, but also even way back in the building of the capital, 1870s. stanford white, the great architect, was working on the capital, h. h. richardson, a lot of other major architects. this would prove to be the most extensive building on the american continent, $25 million when it was declared finished in 97 by teddy roosevelt. and stanford white came here somewhere around 1872 and he said of all the terrible things i've got to spend another night in albany. he said of all the one horse towns, this is the absolute worst, and it was -- the devil.
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i have to spend another night in albany. but, you know, that changed when the capital, suddenly albany became a tourist attraction. "o albany!" which is kind of an impressionistic history, was an ambitious project, 26 articles, covered the whole ethnic history of the city, every geographic neighborhood, and a lot more. and it's sold extremely well, all over the country. it was an unusual development, and it's been selling ever since. it's a phenomenon that don't quite understand, but what i discovered was what a fantastic account this is. you know, i had left albany and
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really never wanted to come back. you know, i come back for the family, but when the circumstances brought me back and i got thrust into the situation, so i started to see what an epic history this city has. it's the second oldest chartered city in the country, in the 17th century, and it's, it's been, you know, it has a history as long before the revolution as it has had since. it was a central meeting place for all those revolutionaries during the american revolution. washington was in town all the time. lafayette, philip schuyler, one
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of the generals of the revolution lived in albany. and benjamin franklin and so on and so on and so on, in the history of those years. and then in the early 19th century, albany became the way west. wit always been a crossroads. we were at the end of the river. henry hudson came up the river in 1607, and couldn't go any further than these rocky bottom, the shallows. and it was, what was where he dropped anchor turned out to be albany eventually. albany is like all of the great eastern cities in its formation. all the european immigration,
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the dutch first in the english, and then the germans and then the irish. they came in fantastic numbers into new york, philadelphia, boston and so on. and albany. albany had so many irish that they couldn't handle it during the famine, and they stopped it. to close our borders and would not let any more people in. they were so many people coming into the city. eventually the irish became dominant in the 19th century in numbers. in 1875 cents as i think showed one in six all iranians was born in ireland. add to this the politics that albany was always a political
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city, even in dutch colonizati colonization, and in the time of the english, likewise when we have the revolution. waters, schemers, drafters of the constitution gathering in albany, franklin's albany planet union. and so, so it went through the years. one of the great politicians of all time in this state come in this country, was the mayor of albany. he had an interrupted success from the time he was elected 1942 until he died in hospital in 1983, 11 terms uninterrupted, and that's the longest running mayor of any city in the united states, and he was very proud of
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that. he was part of this fantastic political machine, which took power away from the republicans in 1921. and a key figure in that was an irish dan o'connell, there were four oh connell brothers and a couple of corning brothers, his father was one of them. and they found the new democratic party and they took the city back from the republicans had run it since 1899. and when they took it in 1921, they never let go. it's still in power. succession has been on through the death of the two people who was the key, perpetuators of the
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machine. dan o'connell died in 1957, and erasmus six years later. and after that came tommy whelan who was appointed, chosen as, successor by corning, and then now jerry jennings succeeded tommy whelan who died, and served for 10 years and then quit and then he was succeeded in a primary, and that was unheard of because you never contravened the choices of the political boss in albany. he was an absolute major power who did not share his power. he ran a very tight ship, and he was the most incredible
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politician. james macgregor burns said, the historian, he said what we really should do is put this political machine fully as it exists right now into the smithsonian so we know what a boss a chain is all about. but after tommy whelan came into power, he changed everything. he opened up the city. it was no longer the boss mission. and jerry jennings has done the same. they run an open city and it's not at all the kind of tammany hall politics that albany was famous for. it was, you know, notable target constantly through the whole
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20th century, to the '80s, target for reformers, especially republican formers -- reformers. when the governor got in power, thomas "cq weekly" to make his way to the white house on the backs of the albany politicians, and he failed. nelson rockefeller investigated albany political machine and he failed. and the machine went on and on and on, but it was, you, who knows how many elections they still. it was extraordinary. but it was the consolidation of power of the ethnic groups that have been coming into this country. they were all part of this mosaic that came to be this political machine. but by and large it was run by
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these two guys. an irish man and a connecticut yankee. it's the history of the city in the subtitle, fearless ethnics and political wizards, scoundrels. we still have a lot of those. but it's a different time now. i mean, it's no longer just albany. albany is about five or six pounds all together. it is troy, schenectady, its saratoga. saratoga is only half an hour away. these are great places to live. and to see. there's a lot to see. account is coming back. it's also a great, beautiful town. a really beautiful town.
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and a lot of people know it now. it doesn't have that reputation anymore people thought it had. >> on a recent visit to albany, new york, with the help of our partner time warner cable, booktv explored the literary and cultural atmosphere of the city. albany known as one of the most populous cities in the u.s. in 1810 is home to several institutions of higher living -- learning including the university of albany, stage and president of new york, a albany law school which is the fourth oldest law school in the u.s., anti-albany college of pharmacy and health sciences. >> we are in the university of albany's department of special collections and archives, and what are the main depositor on campus for collecting archival records, historical records, primary sources that are used by students, teachers, scholars,
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journalists and many other folks. >> a national death penalty archive was started here at the university of albany in 2001. it was a partnership between the archivist it ended special collections and archives and faculty members of the school. there's no national death penalty archive for documenting the fascinating history of capital punishment in the united states, so we set forth to establish the first. and what we do is we reach out to key organizations, significant individuals who are working either to abolish capital punishment or are proponents of capital punishment. and these individuals and organizations for the ideas that spring the debate that goes on,
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both in the legal arena and political agreement over the the death penalty. what i want to show you from the national death penalty archive today is a collection from a gentleman whose name is -- is recognized as the foremost historian of the death penalty in the united states. he began doing research in the death penalty in the late 1960s while he was a traveling salesman. became so passing with crime and capital punishment. and at that time he was a proponent of the death penalty. but he became so fascinated with the topic of the death penalty that he quit his job as a traveling salesman and dedicated his life to documenting every single person executed in the united states since the beginning of this country. when he started his work there were estimates in the scholarly community that were thought, maybe 6000 people executed in the united states.
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after his three decades of work, he documented nearly 16,000 people executed. and he collected all these primary sources. i'm going to show you some of these documents from the collection right now. so here is a picture of m. watt espy in his home in alabama. surrounded by the walls of his own that he had framed with people who were executed. and these are the kinds of things that he went to small city governments, county governments, doing local research to document his, his goal was to document every single person executed in this country. one of the persons that espy compiled information on was the youngest person to be executed in the united states in the 20th century. and if you think about the history of capital punishment, whose theme straw out, one of the things is execution of
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children. is it right to execute children? another theme is, is it proper to execute the elderly or mentally ill? another issue that is drawn out in history, capital punishment, is the factor of race and the sentencings of capital punishment. it's been specifically proven that race is a mitigating factor in capital punishment. so these themes of race, of executing the young and mentally ill are some of the things you can draw out of this collection. so here we have george stamey. george stamey was 14 years old when he was convicted of killing an 11 year old girl in south carolina in 1944. he was 14 years old. he was barely 95 pounds dripping
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wet. he was five-foot tall. and he was swiftly convicted and executed within three months of this crime. when he was executed, he was put in an electric chair. of course, this was built for adults so they could barely get the straps around his wrists and around his legs. he was so skinny and then. but this speaks to the issue of do we want to execute the kind of people who are children? and then he would create an index card on the individual person. here we see george stinney, and this is espy. he created this card, talks about barely 14 years old, where he was from in south carolina, march 24, 1944. he encountered an eight year old and an 11 year old girl who
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worked with george stinney's father, it seems like, and eventually fairly brutal crime was committed. says here, speedily brought to trial for the death of the girl. he was convicted, sentenced to die. the indictment for the murder was prosecuted but he has not received a death sentence. no appeal. clemency was denied by governor johnston who stated that quote the brutality of the crime negated any consideration of his youth. after his conviction he admitted to the murders, and then goes down, stinney made no comment after into the death chamber with a bible tucked under his arm and the cards have difficulty strapping his legs and arms in that you which have
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been designed for adults but at the time of the execution he was only 14 years, five months old. and sites where he got that information from. so that espy papers contain about 90 boxes of records, index cards on 16,000 people who were executed in the united states. the first person executed in the united states was 1608 in jamestown, virginia, george campbell was executed for espionage. his father managed the banks i don't know if this letter has any connection to that. but he wrote in every single person once he discovered that they were executed. he started off with the ledger.
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and so you will see your, he lists their name, their occupation, what city they came from, crime, the age, the motive, dates. all the factual information about the person executed. so you will see we are in south carolina here. let me just turn here to south carolina, and here is george stinney, block, 14 -- block, 14. it's interesting that he first calls george stinney a child, then crosses the that and calls him the student. so the county where he was from, his crime, murder, and the ads here of an 11 year old white girl, and then his date of execution june 16, 1944.
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so you can see here how meticulous espy was in his research. the ledger itself goes from about 1968 to about 1982. and then he went to the index card. but it's clearly the most comprehensive collection on people executed in the united states, from the very first person in 1682 when he stopped working i think around 2005, stopped collecting, he was somewhat to. i think one of the things that he would say is he started off as a proponent of the death penalty but as he did his research, as he realized people who were innocent were executed. again, people who are children were executed. people who didn't have the mental capacity all the times,
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you know, what they were doing in a crime. one of the interesting things connected to the death penalty archives that's not necessary part of espy's research is the idea that some of the organizations whose records we have are, they are groups of murder victims, family members of murder victims. so that aspect of research is fascinating, that someone whose spouse or child is a victim of a gruesome crime within advocate not for the death penalty. these collections are the way that historians, whether students or professional scholars or journalists, this is how people research and write history. they use primary source documents as evidence to prove their arguments. they use primary sources to
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document people and organizations that they are writing about. essentially, this is the raw material for historians and historical researchers to provide evidence. i always like to say that a historian is very similar to a lawyer. they have an argument, and they need to present that argument and present what your thesis is. and they need to provide evidence to back it up. here in the archives and special collections, we take care and we manage all the evidence. that historians have her research and writing their book. >> for more information on this and other cities on the local content vehicles to her, go to >> here's a look at some books that are being published this week.

Book TV
CSPAN December 9, 2012 7:00am-7:45am EST

Rachel Cox Education. (2012) 'Into Dust and Fire Five Young American Who Went First to Fight the Nazis.'' New.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Albany 31, England 11, Washington 10, South Carolina 4, George Stinney 3, Tommy Whelan 3, New York 3, Jack Brister 3, Tunisia 3, Jerry Jennings 2, Dan O'connell 2, Nazis 2, Go To C-span 2, George Stamey 2, Garrett Peck 2, Vernon 2, D.c. 2, Rachel Cox 2, Saratoga 2, North Africa 2
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